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ClearDot.gif (85 bytes) Negative Feedback (cont.)
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6. Allow for a response. It's tempting to unload your concerns and leave. But if you really want to change behavior, you must be involved in a two-way conversation. We all learn constructively, and the teacher needs time to absorb what you've said and respond. You can create an opening by asking "Does this make sense to you?" or "Can you see why I was disappointed?" If the teacher hesitates, you might say "Why don't you sit on this for a day or so, and then let's talk." The goal is to help the teacher understand your perspective.

• • • • • •
“While praise can be public,
criticism should never be overheard”

7. Clarify what you said. Often I will end a discussion by saying, "Let me be sure that I was clear in what I said," and rephrase my point. You might want to go a step further and follow the conversation with a memo outlining your concerns to avoid any misunderstanding.

8. Remember the 5:1 ratio. You need to offer much more positive than negative feedback. Aim for a ratio of at least five positives to every negative. Think of this as building an "interpersonal bank account."  By making enough positive deposits (specific statements of support or appreciation), you can make an occasional withdrawal (specific negative feedback) when appropriate. Keeping this ratio in mind also helps to avoid the tendency to offer feedback only when there is a problem

9., Don't use email for criticism. Under the best of circumstances, giving negative feedback is hard - and using email for this purpose is far from the best of circumstances. Email is quick and allows you to be precise and keep records of communications, but it is not a forum that allows for interaction or clarification. Criticisms should be delivered face-to-face.

10. Let the other person know that you've been there, too. None of us like criticism, particularly if it comes from someone we respect. While offering that feedback, it's helpful to let the teacher know that you've made your share of mistakes, and that you can appreciate their frustration and unhappiness. This sends a powerful message.

Giving negative feedback to others is never easy. Even if we do it well, it is typically not pleasant for either party. But if you want your faculty to grow and learn, giving negative feedback is an important part of your responsibility as a principal.psst! Magazine

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